Marginal Column

The industry 4.0 update for older production lines

Content

March 2017

 

A new solution from Rexroth gets older machines ready for Industry 4.0. Test operation at the company’s own plant in Homburg reduced failure costs by 25 percent.

When we talk about Industry 4.0, we mainly think about brand new production lines. But many companies already have a fully functional machine pool – all that is missing is the networking. With the new IoT Gateway, Rexroth provides the ideal solution for integrating existing equipment into networked environments. For example, modern condition monitoring systems can be retrofitted quickly and easily.

Fast retrofitting

Prior to its launch on the market, the IoT Gateway was used at the company’s own plant in Homburg, where Rexroth produces hydraulic valves. Fabian Borowski is responsible for all issues relating to Industry 4.0: “We see the digitalization of production as an opportunity to get our plant set up for the future. But when making the transition we always kept an eye on the economic efficiency.” It is particularly important for his team that the hardware and software can be retrofitted with as little effort as possible. They installed the IoT Gateway on a test bench from 2007, which inspects the valves for possible impurities caused by particles or chips. “Thanks to the web-based configuration, a senior electrician with no programming knowledge completed the commissioning in half a day,” Borowski revealed. Retrofitting with conventional modules would normally be expected to take around one week of work.

Thanks to the easy web-based configuration, the digital networking of existing equipment was completed quickly.

Thanks to the easy web-based configuration, the digital networking of existing equipment was completed quickly.

 

Tailored maintenance

Thanks to the IoT Gateway, the Homburg test bench is fully integrated into the production information system. It transmits the data from the sensors to the Production Performance Manager from Bosch Software Innovations, which monitors the purity of the filters and detects particles and water content in the oil using sensors. The results are clearly visualized and automatically sent to the responsible staff. They can then replace a contaminated filter in good time. The upgraded test bench now provides documented process quality data at all times, meeting a key customer requirement. At the same time, predictive maintenance cuts downtimes and reduces the associated costs by 25 percent. Borowski said: “The subsequent networking is amortized within 18 months – not even taking into account the process improvements it brings. We are currently connecting another 23 test benches using IoT Gateway.”